The citywide notice was issued due to power loss at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant, Austin Water’s largest water treatment facility, and water pressure dropping below minimum standards. By Thursday morning, all three of Austin Water's water treatment plants have power and are producing water, including the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant. However, the boil water notice will remain in effect until further notice, Austin Water said.
There is no estimate yet on when water pressure will return for people who don't have it. Austin Water will have a public briefing later Thursday, February 18, to give an update.
Austin Water said it worked with Austin Energy to quickly assess its system and restore power and is in the process of bringing the plant back online.
The last time a citywide boil water notice was issued was after the historic floods of October 2018. It was lifted after six days.
To ensure the destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice-making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or consumption. Water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.
When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, Austin Water will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler release a virtual statement shortly after the notice was issued. "I know this feels like yet another really hard thing on top of all the other hard things that are happening, but this is something that we need to do," Adler said. "We need to conserve water so we can build back up the reserves that we've lost over the last 24 hours."
Adler said water consumption is currently up 250 percent.
"Only use the water that you absolutely have to use," he added. "... Let's all participate together so that we can get past this moment in time. And we will."
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